|Fulham win an exciting contest 2-1 against Sheffield Wednesday.|
Fulham got Saturday's Third Round FA Cup tie at Hillsborough underway but it was the home side that should have taken the lead after just two minutes of play. Fredrik Stoor, making his first start for the Whites, was dispossessed by Boden on the left hand side of the area. The midfielder skipped to the byline and crossed to Jermaine Johnson who forced Schwarzer into a fine save with a low drive from 12 yards.
Wednesday were left to rue their missed opportunity when Andy Johnson latched onto Danny Murphy's superb through ball to give Fulham the lead after 10 minutes of play. After a good phase of patient build up play Murphy sent a perfectly weighted through ball into the area. Johnson spun his marker before firing a right footed shot past keeper Grant from eight yards to give Fulham the lead.
Fulham's lead lasted ten minutes before Tommy Spurr brought the game level with a stunning left footed strike from 35 yards. Schwarzer had no chance as the ball flew into the top left hand corner of the net. Hillsborough erupted.
Two minutes after Spurr's unstoppable strike Etuhu almost silenced the home crowd, smashing a right-footed drive against the cross bar from 25 yards. Julian Gray, making his first start for Fulham, was next to try his luck from distance with a fine curling left footed shot from the edge of the area.
Wednesday caused the greatest threat down the flanks and before the break Jermaine Johnson had two good chances to put the home side head but sent both efforts over Schwarzer's bar from inside the area.
Clint Dempsey almost caught Wednesday cold in the opening minute of the second half with a left footed shot from 25 yards. Fortunately for Grant in goal the ball curled wide of the post. Five minutes later Andy Johnson's turn of pace saw him burst past his marker down the right flank into the area before his cross to Zamora was cleared away for a corner.
Much to the home crowd's displeasure James O'Conor was booked after 57 minutes for a foul on Murphy. From the resulting free-kick Clint Dempsey forced Grant into a point blank save with a right-footed shot from six yards. Wednesday immediately went on the offensive and once again Jermaine Johnson was guilty of misfiring from close range.
On the hour mark Wednesday captain Richard Wood received a verbal warning following a heavy challenge on Zamora. The striker required treatment and ten minutes later was replaced by Erik Nevland. Fifteen minutes from time Clint Dempsey, by far Fulham's most potent attacking force in the second half, tried his luck from distance with a right footed shot from 30 yards. Roy Hodgson revised his attacking personnel two minutes later, introducing Simon Davies for Julian Gray on the left flank.
Following Davies' introduction Fulham attacked with greater purpose and Clint Dempsey was denied for a third time by Grant on 83 minutes. Thirty seconds later Andy Johnson teed up Nevland on the six yard line but the striker sent his strike outside of Grant's near post.
Two minutes from time Andy Johnson secured Fulham's path into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup with a predatory strike at the far post. Johnson's raced ahead of his marker in the area to latch onto Nevland's cross from the right. After firing the ball into the far corner of the net Johnson raced to celebrate with Fulham's travelling army of supporters.
The home side almost grabbed an equaliser in injury time but Schwarzer made a great save to deny Jeffers from six yards out. Right at the death Johnson almost grabbed the match ball when his cross from the right hit the base of Grant's near post but his brace was enough to book Fulham a berth in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.
"It was an excellent Cup tie and I'm really pleased with the victory which came after a hard fought and thrilling Cup tie. All credit to Sheffield Wednesday for the way thay forced us to give our best.
"As the game wore on the tempo was maintained from our side and maybe they tired a bit and we got more and more possession in that important area in front of the back four and we started to make good use of it.
"It was important for us to get that second goall in what was a good period for us. I was wondering if the goal would come because the keeper made a couple of good saves and we hit the post a couple of times. Luckily we did and then we nearly conceded at the other end. That summed up the match I thought - we created a lot of chances today but we also conceded a lot.
"This victory today is good for morale and the boys are really pleased.The players and I know it's just as hard to come and win here in a Cup match as it is to win away in a Premier League match. it's a very hard task and I'm delighted the boys have pulled it off."
Fulham's big summer signing took his tally to six goals in sixteen appearances on Saturday. Johnson's first was a result of excellent movement and clinical finishing whilst the second highlighted his natural striking instinct, latching on to Erik Nevland's cross at the far post two minutes from time.
Competition: The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON
Date: Saturday 3 January 2009
Venue: Hillsborough, Sheffield
Team line-up is not available.
Team line-up is not available.